New legislation would require owners of affordable apartments to register them with the city, aiming to make it easier for New Yorkers to find a discount pad.
The bill being introduced Monday by Councilman Ben Kallos would require owners of affordable housing getting government aid or rent-regulated apartments to sign them up with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. If not, they could face fines up to $2,000 per apartment per month.
The list would be used to create a website where New Yorkers could see all the affordable housing they qualify for, and use a single online application to enter lotteries for any of it.
Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) says "we cannot allow landlords to hide even a single unit" of affordable housing from the public.
“Our city is in desperate need of affordable housing and we cannot allow landlords to hide even a single unit of it from the public,” said Kallos (D-Manhattan), whose bill would cover more than a million apartments.
“We need a full accounting of every affordable unit of housing in the City and we need regular monitoring and strict enforcement.”
HPD already has a website, called NYC Housing Connect, where residents can search and apply for affordable housing, but the new system would include more options.
Under the new portal, residents could enter their income information and get matched with apartments they qualify for, tackling a problem where people get rejected from lotteries because they apply for the wrong units for their income, Kallos said.
They could also sign up for waiting lists for existing buildings — and track the list, seeing where they stand and how many people are ahead of them.
Rebecca Sears, 68, of Yorkville, said she’s joined at least a dozen affordable housing wait lists, the first one more than a decade ago — but has no idea how close she may be to getting an apartment.
“They will not tell me where I am on a waiting list,” she said, adding she gets “all kinds of double talk.”
Sears wants a place she can afford to replace the basement apartment she lives in now, which she can barely get out of because she has trouble climbing the stairs.
“I’m very, very frustrated. I’m under house arrest, that’s what it feels like,” she said.
Rent-regulated apartments, which are covered by different rules than those in affordable housing programs, are already supposed to register with the state, but investigations have found thousands that failed to register.